Current Group Members
UCLA graduate student 2020 -
Isabel studies exoplanet system architectures to better understand how planets form and evolve. Currently, she is working to conduct a spectroscopic survey to search for stellar companions to Kepler planet hosts. This survey will help us understand how binarity, a common outcome of star formation, affects the formation and dynamical evolution of planets with more than one host star.
UCLA undergraduate 2022 -
Paige is a third-year undergraduate student studying astrophysics at UCLA. She is currently working on the development of visualization software for Kepler light curves to investigate the eccentricities, mutual inclinations, precise radii, and other properties of small planets. She is working closely with Dr. Greg Gilbert to understand fine details in the populations of transiting planets.
UCLA postdoc 2021 -
Greg earned his PhD in Astronomy & Astrophysics from the University of Chicago, where he studied the architectures and dynamics of high-multiplicity exoplanetary systems. He takes an interdisciplinary approach to exoplanet science, and he has often found that the solution to open astrophysical questions can be found by adopting tools from other scientific disciplines such as molecular biology or information theory. Since arriving at UCLA, he has been applying these techniques to build a homogenous census of transiting planets discovered by Kepler, K2, and TESS. He is also using the Keck Planet Finder to compare the properties of planets discovered by radial velocity surveys to those discovered via transits.
UCLA postdoc 2023 -
Jack earned his PhD in Astrophysics from UC Irvine in 2023, focusing on developing new techniques and writing accompanying software for better disentangling stellar activity signals from planetary signals in RV data sets. He likes working on large populations to uncover trends, but also really enjoys diving deep into a single system at a time to reveal details. Now at UCLA, he is driven by the question: how common are planetary systems that look like our own Solar System in terms of their overall architecture (planet sizes, separations, stellar obliquities, and more) as well as their formation/evolution/dynamical histories. Website.
UCLA graduate student 2020 -
Dakotah is generally interested in the demographics of exoplanets in our galaxy. To better under the distribution of planets that we observe, he studies atmospheric mass-loss from multiple angles. He does transit spectroscopy to study the atmospheric erosion of helium in hot-Jupiters that are bathed in high energy stellar radiation. He is also leading a small radial velocity survey on systems that harbor both sub-Neptunes and super-Earths to better under the dominant mass-loss mechanism responsible for carving demographics trends such as the "Radius Gap" and “sub-Neptune desert”. In addition to his research, Dakotah is a passionate science communicator, actively engaging with a broad audience to make complex astrophysical concepts accessible and exciting to the public. Website.
Judah Van Zandt
UCLA graduate student 2019 -
Judah’s research uses the radial velocity (RV) and transit methods to study the planetary structure of other stellar systems. He is currently conducting an RV survey with the Keck and APF telescopes to understand the relationship between long-period giant planets and close-in rocky ones. Combining these RVs with high-precision astrometry measurements from the Gaia and Hipparcos missions gives his survey sensitivity to companions even with periods much greater than the survey duration. Website.
Former Group Members
UCLA graduate student 2019 - 2021
Jon used the population of planets around other stars to understand the physical processes that dictate planet formation. To accomplish this goal he used the K2 mission data to extract a homogenous catalog of transiting planets. This wide survey of the ecliptic plane enables examination of the stellar host's role in these formation mechanisms. Website.
UCLA undergraduate 2022 - 2023
Luke worked on a novel scheduling paradigm for the Keck Planet Finder to improve the observational cadence of Doppler observations, i.e. the timing of and spacing between observations. Fine control of observational cadence is critical to detect the smallest planets. Luke's research lay at the intersection of astronomy, operations research, and computation and our team collaborated extensively with Prof. Velibor Mišić in the Anderson School.
UCLA graduate student 2019 - 2023
Mason's PhD involved determining both the typical and extreme values of exoplanet orbital eccentricities. He used improved photometric modeling techniques to constrain the eccentricities of small planets, and followed them up with RV measurements from the HIRES instrument. Publications. Mason graduated in 2023 and went on to work in data science at Google.